To crate or not to crate that is the question

I am a new dog owner and I've heard crating a dog is a good idea while some feel they are cruel...

can someone help me.

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Comment by Di, Pazu, and Mochi the Bunny on September 2, 2011 at 6:09pm

To potty train Pazu, I had his crate and his playpen linked together.  That's where he was the majority of the day while I was at work.  I lined his playarea with pee pads and the outdoor area where he would eventually go potty with pee pads as well with a bit of his urine and poo to remind him.  I would put treats and toys inside his crate with the door open - giving him the option to go and nestle there if he chose. And Mochi my bunny resided in the playpen next to him so they kept each other company. I didn't want him to develop separation anxiety if I was away at work and crated him too long, so I would drop in on him at lunch.  I'd leave puzzles and kongs for him to figure out during the day.  It was padded and comfortable. I also owned two fairly large stuffed animal dogs - bigger than he was at the time that I put right in front of his crate.  The cute thing was that Pazu always chose to sleep between the two stuffed animal dogs in front of his crate and not in his crate, even though I had a towel that smelled like his littermates inside his crate.  He potty trained to pee pads and eventually I removed them slowly and started putting gates on doors to limit his access.  Now he has free roam of the apartment.  I think Pazu gets hot sleeping so his favorite place to sleep is on the tile floor by the door.  He won't even sleep in the bed with me.  Thankfully Pazu is still neutral about the crate.  


Comment by Harlee's mom on September 1, 2011 at 8:47pm
Harlee has always used a crate too.. it is his safe place and keeps him calm when I am not home since he has separation anxiety. Make sure it's really big so he can move around it and yes the door is open he can go in or out of it whenever he wants. I agree with everyone else, no more than 8 hours or so if you can help it.
Comment by Laura Rochette on August 26, 2011 at 7:44pm
Crate training has worked well for my 15 week old Lucy and me in a few ways: it helps with establishing a schedule while housetraining (puppy won't pee or poop in her crate); it is a comfortable/safe place for her to be while I am out running errands (and she won't destroy the apartment!); it is a place to feel safe from the cats and the cats feel she is not in their way (the cats are still adjusting, though they are not aggressive--just puzzled). The trainer I work with assured me it is normal for the puppy to spend a decent amount of time in the crate. Of course, all the caution expressed in this thread about abuse is true. I never use it for punishment.
Comment by Beth on August 24, 2011 at 12:07pm
Crates are fabulous but can be abused.   A pup should not be in a crate for more than 8 hours total in a day, and 8 hours while awake would be too long while 8 hours asleep is fine.   We crated at night and used an ex-pen during the day.   Keep in mind that since puppies in homes of people who work are locked up A LOT, that means it is your responsibility to dedicate almost all your free time to playing with and training your puppy during his first year of life.  Say good-bye to your hobbies.  :-)     But after they are a year or 18 months old and reliable to be let out during the day, your free time will return. 
Comment by Yuki & Ellie on August 24, 2011 at 10:35am

I believe that crate training is a very healthy and positive thing, when done correctly. 


My first dog, Yuki, has never been crate trained.  I had to watch him every second of the day when he was a puppy and always worried that he would get into something that would harm him or make him sick.  Luckily, he was never the type to dig through garbage or eat everything that he found on the floor.


My new puppy, Ellie, was crate trained before I got her.  I have to say, I was nervous because putting a dog in such a small space seemed kind of mean.  Since she has been here, though, I am so grateful for the crate!  We just bought her a bigger one last night, as she has outgrown her first puppy crate, and she loves having her own quiet place.  She doesn't wander in on her own very often, but all I have to do is hold the door open and say "crate" and she bounds in with a big grin and sits patiently for her treats.  It gives her a space to get away from the children and Yuki and it also ensures that she can't get into trouble while I'm busy.  Even if you don't plan on keeping your pup in there often, it doesn't hurt to train him/her just in case you need it!

Comment by Bev Levy on August 24, 2011 at 10:13am
I only crate for the first year. However, I think Izzy likes the whole den idea, this is her favorite napping spot. Adult dogs nap most of the day and as long as they receive appropriate exercise ,before you leave for the day, crating should be fine. As young as your pup is, he will need regular outside breaks during the day. If you can not do that, I would go with an exercise pen with pads or newspapers.
Comment by Bev Levy on August 24, 2011 at 10:08am
Comment by Jane on August 24, 2011 at 9:58am
I used a crate at night and a pen during the day while I was at work when my dogs were puppies. I would not suggest a canvas or cloth crate for a puppy, they may have accidents which would be a pain to clean out of there, and a determined dog could easily rip his way out. I prefer the plastic airline type crates, I think I got our last one at Walmart for a decent price. The dog doesn't think of a crate as a cage, but more like a den. A safe place to be. Crating is not cruel as long as it's done within reason.
Comment by Jane Christensen on August 24, 2011 at 8:28am
Making a kennel fun and inviting and not a punishment is they key to success:)
Comment by Jane Christensen on August 24, 2011 at 8:26am

I absolutely believe in crates! I have at least 3 open at all times in my house and many times they have a dog in one. I also travel with my dogs in a crate.

I do believe that 9 hours might be too long for a pup and so a gated area with the crate open and pads down  as Melissa suggested might be a good alternative.

I have a Vari Kennel Ultra  (med,I believe it's 20X20)with the wire windows that is my fave but I also have extra large lab kennels so I can put food and water in  when I know I'll be gone a long period of time.

even though they may look like a cage to my's a comfy home.

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